Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) was developed in Australia in response to the growing beef industry. The herding dogs available were unable to manage the herds of wild cattle. The breed was derived from crossing the native dingo (a silent hunter with incredible stamina) with a Dalmatian (for horse sense), Highland Collies (for herding ability), and the Black and Tan Kelpie (a herding breed).
The Australian Cattle Dog breed has been called a blue heeler, red heeler, and Queensland heeler. Australian Cattle Dogs are compact and powerful. They stand between 17 and 20 inches tall and weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. The eyes are oval and alert, ears are upright, and the tail reaches the hocks with a slight curve.
The Australian Cattle Dog coat has a dense undercoat and a close outer coat no longer than 1.5 inches. Colors include red speckle, blue, blue speckle, and blue mottle. Twice weekly brushing will keep the Australian Cattle Dog in nice shape, except during shedding season (spring and fall) when daily brushing is needed.
The Australian Cattle Dog needs vigorous daily exercise. Although long brisk walks will be appreciated, that is not enough exercise for this breed. The Australian Cattle Dog will also need to go for a run alongside a bicycle, do herding training, run the agility course, or play a fast game of flying disc. Without enough exercise, the Australian Cattle Dog will become bored and develop bad habits. The breed excels at many canine sports and should participate in at least one.
Early socialization and training are also needed, as this breed is very bright and able to think for himself. Training can teach good habits and household rules and can motivate the dog to want to be good. Without mental stimulation, as well as exercise, the Australian Cattle Dog will get into trouble. This can be a difficult breed for a first-time dog owner. He can be wary of strangers but is affectionate with his people. He’s good with kids but will try to herd them, often nipping at heels. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia and deafness.
ACD at K9 Research Lab